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Environmental risk factors such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries worldwide. In 2012, an estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment, that’s nearly 1 in 4 global deaths. The Philippines is not spared from this burden with environmental risk factors contributing to at least 22% of the reported disease cases and nearly 6% of reported deaths in 2006.
The Philippines experiences a “triple burden” of disease, this refers to the high incidences of key communicable diseases, the rising rates of non-communicable diseases while also being one of the highest disaster prone country in the world. These environmental risk factors are part and parcel of this triple burden of disease. To address this, the WHO Country Office in the Philippines is supporting the Philippine Department of Health’s environmental health programmes and most recently on its National Environmental Health Action Plan.
“The Philippines is setting an excellent example by developing a national environmental health action plan for the next six years. It not only shows its commitment to tackle these issues but also highlights a strategic direction that the Government is taking.” said Dr Gundo Weiler, WHO Country Representative in the Philippines. Dr Weiler also reiterated WHO’s continued commitment to support the plan that covers all areas such as water safety, sanitation safety, food safety, chemical safety, air quality management, health impact assessment, occupational health, and climate change.
The Philippines is also member of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health and will be hosting the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum which will be held in Manila on 6-8 October 2016. Critical issues on environment and health that align with the sustainable development goals will be discussed and resolutions will be made to enhance country cooperation within the Region.